Post-Election Musings

November 3, 2010

Maybe “musings” isn’t the right word. Perhaps “head-scratching” would be more apropos, since the spectrum of victories and defeats for Libraryland defy a big-picture understanding (for me at least) the morning after the 2010 Midterm Elections.

So, without editorializing, here are the nuggets of information we have as of noon Central time about the outcome of library-related issues that were up for a vote on November 2:

  • Some 70% of Colorado voters dealt a decisive death blow to three anti-tax measures that the Colorado Association of Libraries  and other for- and nonprofits opposed because the initiatives would have hampered the state’s ability to maintain infrastructure as well as rolling back local millages despite community sentiment about funding libraries and schools.
  • The electorate in Troy, Michigan, rejected for the second time in less than a year a mill hike to ensure that the city’s three-branch system had enough funding to remain open beyond FY2011. Because the levy lost by 700 votes, Troy Public Library’s last day of operation remains scheduled for June 30, 2011, unless officials are able to secure alternate funding.
  • Gretchen Couraud, executive director of the Michigan Library Association, reports that the defeat in Troy, as well as that for the Bloomfield Township Public Library, seem to be the exceptions statewide; 10 other library millages passed, including a .38 additional operating millage in perpetuity for Ypsilanti District Library and a .7-mill hike for the next 12 years for Belleville Area District Library.
  •  Ohio libraries, which have achieved consistently high marks on the HAPLR Index due to their once-stable funding, received the fiscal support of voters in 30 of the 38 communities considering library funding. The Ohio Library Council stated: “Many of these winning library levies will generate only enough funds to replace the 31% in state funding lost in the latest round of state funding reductions.”
  • San Diego libraries, along with other publicly funded services, are regrouping after voters resoundingly rejected a sales-tax increase known as Proposition D. According to the November 3 San Diego Union-Tribune, the initiative would have caused the city sales tax, which is scheduled to drop from 8.75% to 7.75%, on July 1, 2011, to fall instead to 8.25%. 



Field Museum Library

Chicago's Field Museum is one of the foremost museums of natural history in the world. AL Focus recently visited the Field Museum library to learn about its role in the museum's research, exhibit development, and educational programs.